Things that make me go hmm.....
The most interesting interview of the Central Division road trip came from Kootenay Ice General Manager Jeff Chynoweth when it came to attendance in Cranbrook. He's not happy, and do you blame him? Acquiring one of the most dynamic player in the WHL yet you are hovering under the 25 hundred mark for home games? I feel Chynoweth's frustration. During our interview he could have painted a rosie picture that all is well in 'Kootenay Country', but like his late father Ed, Jeff told it like it is and you have to appreciate that from a general manager that doesn't get the credit he deserves for his teams successes over the years. He won't win many friends in Cranbrook by his comments, but does he have anything to lose?
The Rockets scored 38 goals in the month of February. The line of Geordie Wudrick, Colton Sissons and Evan Bloodoff scored 21 of those 38 goals. Sissons had 14 points (7+7=14), Wudrick had 12 points (7+5=12) and Bloodoff had 11 points (7+4=11). Essentially that line was responsible for 55% percent of the Rockets goals during the month.
You have to give the Swift Current Broncos and their fans credit for coming out under the circumstances. February was a disaster for that team, yet despite the calls for head coach Mark Lamb's head, they are still coming out to watch. Lamb isn't the problem though in Swift Current. Axing the coach is always the fans first response. It's nonsense. As an outsider, it clearly looks to me as if the Broncos were a weak bunch mentally and let the Cody Eakin trade affect them greatly. Yes, injuries were a factor in the teams slide, but the Broncos were touted as having one of the best forward units in the league heading into the season regardless of whether Eakin returned to junior. I'm hoping they make the playoffs, I really am. I will admit it though, I don't like their chances.
I asked Eakin about the Broncos slide since he was traded. "It's tough to see that. Obviously I know those guys, the coach and the management. When we played them we had a hard time with them and it wasn't a push over game. I think a couple of injuries are holding them back right now. If they can make a push right now...like I said they are a hard team to play against and if they can get back into the playoff spot they could give whatever team they face all they can handle".
Get healthy Brett Bulmer! Line-mate Shane McColgan misses ya.
The Everett Silvertips can spin it, but the Red Deer Rebels clearly won the trade that saw Byron Froese move to Red Deer for forward Landon Ferraro. Even if Ferraro would have remained healthy, Froese had a better season. Over 30 goals for Froese is no surprise. He scores goals and has always been a point producer. Will he be a better pro that Ferraro? Maybe not, but from a Rebels perspective, who cares? Froese's greatest accomplishment may have been his ability to take a back-seat role to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 17 year-old receives all the media attention - and rightfully so - but Froese is a good teammate by just going on the ice and producing.
Speaking of trades, I have to say it after biting my tongue for a couple of weeks now. The Rockets were the winner in the Geordie Wudrick/Stepan Novotny deal. Wudrick has scored big goals for the Rockets this season, including four terrific shootout goals that are lost among the 36 he's scored this season . Technically he has 40 goals....ya, ya, shootout goals don't count but you get the idea.
Wudrick will play in his 100th game with the Rockets Wednesday night in Kamloops. Wudrick has 55 goals and 84 points in a Rockets uniform. Pretty good return if you ask me. His nine goals in that opening round playoff series last year against Everett was one of the main reasons why the Rockets provided an upset.
In his last 24 games, Wudrick has 17 goals. By comparison, the leading point getter in the league - Medicine Hat's Linden Vey - has 15 goals in his last 24. Tyler Johnson of Spokane has 16 goals in his last 24 games. The only players to out due Wudrick is Chilliwack's Ryan Howse (24 goals in his last 24 games) and Vancouver's Brendan Gallagher (18 goals in his last 24).
The Vancouver Giants lost just four of 11 games in February, for a total of 14 points earned. The Rockets lost five times and once in a shootout in the 13 games they played for a total of 15 points in February. The Kamloops Blazers also earned 15 points during the month. Chilliwack and Prince George each earned 11 points during the month.
The Red Deer Rebels organization has struck a cord with young fans. The upper seating area at the Centrium Friday night was rocking with young kids enjoying the game. That's huge in the long term future of the franchise. I noticed a similar presence in Calgary, but not so much in Cranbrook.
One of the benefits of having a video screen on the score-clock is the ability to show the fans in the stands, particularly the young ones that get a kick out of seeing themselves on the 'big screen'. Simple concept really in Red Deer, where a gentleman with a mic during the intermission holds a cheering (shouting) match involving the two sides of the arena. The kids eat it up.
The Red Deer Rebels organization hasn't made it official, but they get my nod if they bid for the 2013 Memorial Cup. Great city, solid building and everything they host is nothing but successful. If the Rockets bid as well, I withdraw my endorsement of Red Deer.
Rockets rookie defenceman Damon Severson had his ears lowered on the weekend. No big deal for a junior player to get his haircut on the road right? Well, Severson receives his haircut from his grandma. His grandma watched games on the Alberta road trip and brought her scissors and other hair cutting tools with her. Severson tells me his grandma has always cut his hair. I wouldn't have dared let my grandma cut my hair as a kid. She would have given me a 'pig shave'. Remember that term? A 'pig shave' is having your hair cut extremely short. Maybe it's an old Saskatchewan term? I think the proper term used now-a-days is 'buzz cut'.